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SSudan Female Logisticians Highlight Challenges, Gender Parity

FILE - Participants at Women in Logistics anniversary in Juba, South Sudan March 31, 2023 VOA/Julian Siapai

JUBA — A South Sudan-based women’s group, aimed at bringing together women working in humanitarian logistics, marked its one-year anniversary last week highlighting challenges and calling for gender parity in the sector.

The Women in Logistics Network-South Sudan, WiLNSSD, one-year anniversary event coincided with the end of Women’s History Month, inviting women in the sector and other affiliated organizations.

Speaking at the event Kristina Ortiz, director of humanitarian assistance at the United States Agency for International Development, USAID, in South Sudan, said the country’s infrastructure is underdeveloped, making it difficult for aid agencies to transport relief items around the country.

She said USAID is supporting the logistics cluster by implementing security measures for humanitarian operations in South Sudan.

"As we know South Sudan is facing one of the world’s largest and most complex humanitarian crisis with more than 9.4 million people projected to require assistance in 2023. The logistics sector here in South Sudan faces a really unique set of challenges that you are all working so hard to overcome," Ortiz said.

The United Nations estimates 9.4 million people are likely to face humanitarian crisis in South Sudan due to conflict and climatic shocks between April and July this year.

Women working in the field of logistics in South Sudan formed a network to address challenges facing women logisticians working with organizations in South Sudan.

Natelie Emery, co-founder of the WiLNSSD, said the group lacks funding for building the capacity of around 150 female logisticians in South Sudan.

The U.N. says South Sudan has a unique environment for humanitarian aid agencies, adding that widespread insecurity continues to limit humanitarian assistance operations across the country.

Asunta Santa, a logistic officer with a non-profit in Juba, told VOA previous misperception attached to women working in the field of logistics has changed in South Sudan and more women have offered their professional services to international and national organizations addressing humanitarian crisis in the country.

Santa said women working in logistics has proven their abilities, proving to their male counterparts that women are able to work in many sectors.

FILE - Zura Mustafa (L) and Rita Gire (R) address women on one year anniversary of the Women in Logistics Network-South Sudan.
FILE - Zura Mustafa (L) and Rita Gire (R) address women on one year anniversary of the Women in Logistics Network-South Sudan.

Zura Mustafa, a member of the Logistics Cluster, a World Food Program humanitarian coordination mechanism, said finding a career in the field of logistics in the country has been very challenging due to several factors.

"The fact that it is being seen as male dominated field and also looking at our cultures in most times, for example if at all a girl wants to pursue a career in logistics he or she will denied because the fact that it is being seen as a male dominated work," Mustafa said.

Women in Logistics Network-South Sudan was established in March 2022 to build the capacity women working in field of logistics in South Sudan. The group has brought together over hundred female logisticians across to country to sharing their experiences working in a male dominated profession.